This weekend, the Widget and I watched the ‘Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H.’ cartoon, during which she explained to me who the various Hulks were and what their respective deals were.  (“That’s Red.  He’s just a jerk.”)  But, as the action heated up, and the heroes jetted off into space, I realized just what the threat they were about to confront was, and what it meant, suddenly interrupting her with a fearful “Holy crap…  It’s EGO.”

The explanation of what that meant took a while, but having done it once, I’m not averse to repeating a good story…  Your Major Spoilers (retro) review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
Creative madness of Kirby.
What a concept!
Cons

Short and anti-climactic.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Thor133CoverTHOR #133
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor: Stan Lee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 12 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $140.00

Previously in Thor:  After getting a big too big for his britches, Thor was banished to Earth by All-Father Odin to teach him a bit of humility.  It isn’t really clear how long he spent trapped in the mortal form of Doctor Donald Blake, but an invasion by the Stone Men from Saturn (actually not from Saturn at all, we eventually discovered) led to Blake finding the legendary hammer, Mjolnir.  Now, he switches back and forth from man to Norse deity by stamping his cane on the ground, and has fought mostly against various jerks and shmendriks who are massively over-powered by his might.  That is no longer the case as, having traveled into space to the remote Black Galaxy, where he has finally confronted a menace that dwarfs even his Asgardian power…  the living planet known as Ego.

Thor1331(Click To Embiggen)

When Widget asked me about the origin of Ego, The Living Planet, my explanation started with, “There once was a man named Jack Kirby, and he was awesome.”  This two-page spread of Ego’s surface is pretty much the visual representation of that sentence.  The alien landscape is such that even an immortal of Asgard and a Rigellian Recorder (a machine-being who has spent centuries cataloguing the wonders of the universe) stand in awe of that which is Ego.  Before they can fully wrap their brains around the madness before them, their “host” steps in to open the lines of communication…

Thor1332You have to appreciate the subtlety that Vinnie Colletta’s inks add to Kirby’s powerful pencils, especially in the treatment of Thor’s golden locks.  Ego creates a human-sized avatar with which he addresses Thor, the proceeds to shake even Thor’s understanding of the universe by creating horses from the matter of his planetary shell.  Riding across the surface of the living planet, Thor and the Recorder are brought to a castle (which, like their mounts, Ego has created from Thor’s own memories) where Ego presents the God of Thunder with a challenge…

Thor1333His name proves quite fitting, as Ego slaps down Thor like that time Stephen got in the slap-fight with the dwarf who wrestled in a nun’s costume.  (This story may or may not be true.)  Using Thor’s own form as a template, he creates first one, then an ARMY of humanoid creatures, Anti-Bodes with which he will invade and subjugate the world outside The Black Galaxy.  (My uncle used to drive one of those.)

Thor1334Faced with the prospect of a massive, hyper-intelligent creature crushing freedom beneath it’s…  um…  continents, Thor faces down the nigh-endless forces mano-a-meteroid.  For perhaps the first time in centuries, the Thunder God unleashes the full scope of his power against the hordes of anti-bodies…

Thor1335Battling his way through the caverns of Ego’s form, Thor finds that even his legendary strength of limb to be insufficient, and uses his OTHER powers to turn Ego’s own atmosphere against him!

Thor1336Finally beaten at his own game, Ego skulks back into his pocket universe in defeat, leaving behind only the memory of a great adventure for Thor and the vague worry that his face is modeled on someone real.  (Perhaps Stan Lee himself?)  This issue is an odd one, even by the standards of Silver Age Marvel, and it’s a wild ride throughout (albeit one with a particularly abrupt ending), showcasing Kirby’s wild visuals, with one of Colletta’s more consistent inking jobs.  (Vinnie is a favorite of mine, but his talents are sometimes a bone of contention among fans of Silver Age Marvel.)  Thor #133 is a reminder of the kind of world-changing wacky ideas that made Marvel famous, debuting one of the maddest of the cosmic pantheon and earning a solid 4 out of 5 stars overall (adjusted for the exchange rate from the currency of the Black Galaxy.)

As my child informed me at the end of the cartoon Ego battle, “Ego is creepy and awesome, but I’m kind of afraid of that Jack Kirby guy’s brain.”

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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2 Comments

  1. Ian
    September 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm — Reply

    Love the 2-page spread. Disagree on the inks, though. Way too weak for my tastes. Makes Kirby’s pencils too watered down.

  2. September 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm — Reply

    This was great review and an awesome story, looks like I’m going to do some downloading tonight.

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